Obituaries

In Memory of Leslie J. De Groot

It is with the deepest sorrow that the ETA has learned of the passing of Dr. Leslie J. De Groot on 23rd October, 2018, Research Professor at the University of Rhode Island and at the Institute for Immunology and Informatics at the downtown Providence Campus of the University. Leslie J. De Groot MD (“Les”) devoted his life, with superlative fervour and zeal, to Endocrinology and Thyroid research.

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Leslie J. De Groot

 

In Memory of Theo Visser


It is with great sadness that we inform you of the sudden death on 21st March of Theo Visser. We are all deeply shocked. He was an outstanding scientist and thyroidologist and has won many ETA awards, as recently as last year the Lissitzky Award. He was President of the ETA from 2011 to 2013.

Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family and also to his close friends and colleagues. He will be sorely missed.

Pilar Santisteban, President of the ETA
on behalf of the Executive Committee and the Standing Office


With great sadness we were notified that Theo Visser suddenly passed away on March 21st 2018.

Theo has been a member of the thyroid group of Erasmus MC since 1973. In the 1980’s, Theo made major breakthroughs in the identification and mechanisms of deiodination. His longstanding interest and research in thyroid hormone transport led to the discovery of MCT8 in 2003, the most specific thyroid hormone transporter known to date. Soon afterwards, Theo was the first to identify patients with defective MCT8. More recently, he was among the first to identify patients with thyroid hormone resistance caused by mutation of the TRα1 receptor.

Theo was very committed to various (inter)national scientific organizations. Among other things, he was member of the Executive Committee (1984-1989) and President (2011-2013) of the ETA. Markers of his esteem include the Harington De Visscher Prize (ETA, 1991), Pitt Rivers Lecture (British Thyroid Foundation, 2005), Edwin B Astwood Award (Endocrine Society, 2009), Merck-Serono Prize (ETA, 2009), John B Stanbury Thyroid Pathophysiology Medal (ATA, 2013), European Medal (Society for Endocrinology, 2014), ETJ lecture (ETA, 2016) and Lissitzky Award (ETA, 2017).

Theo was not only a person with brilliant scientific ideas, but also an inspiration and mentor to many scientists throughout the world.

We will miss Theo deeply, and express our sincere sympathy to his family.

All members of the Erasmus MC Academic Center for Thyroid Diseases

Theo Visser

 

In Memory of Jacques Nunez

Jacques Nunez a major contributor to our knowledge of the thyroid gland and the role of thyroid hormone on brain development and one of the founding members of the European Thyroid Association and of the Hormones and Cell Regulation Symposium, died in Washington in February 2018.

French, he was born in Tunis (Tunisia) in 1927 in a Jewish family of Italian origin. He began his career as a fundamental organic chemist at the Pasteur Institute, then, as biochemist, at the College of France, Inserm and finally at the NIH.

The first part of his career was devoted to the biosynthesis of thyroid hormone and the control of thyroid cell metabolism. In particular he discovered reverse T3, characterized the enzymatic systems (thyroperoxidase ,H2O2 generating system etc.,) involved in the synthesis of thyroid hormones. He also developed the field of the biochemical actions of thyroid hormones. He then began a major research activity on the role of microtubules and microtubule-associated proteins on brain development and on their regulation by thyroid hormones. He described the changes in activity and composition of the microtubule-associated proteins tau and MAP2 during brain development. During his stay in Bruxelles in 1982-1984, working with J.P. Brion, they discovered that tau proteins were the molecular component of neurofibrillary tangles, a key brain lesion in Alzheimer’s disease. This major discovery led him later to further findings in brain development and in Alzheimer’s disease.

A major, authoritative figure in thyroid and in neurosciences, a forceful debater and organiser.
Jacques Nunez will be greatly missed.

J E DUMONT, J P BRION

Francon J, Fellous A, Lennon AM, Nunez J: Is thyroxine a regulatory signal for neurotubule assembly during brain development? Nature 1977, 266:188-90. PMID 859595

Mareck A, Fellous A, Francon J, Nunez J: Changes in composition and activity of microtubule-associated proteins during brain development. Nature 1980, 284:353-5. PMID 7360270

Brion JP, Passareiro H, Nunez J, Flament-Durand J: Mise en évidence immunologique de la protéine tau au niveau des lésions de dégénérescence neurofibrillaire de la maladie d'Alzheimer. ArchBiol(Brux) 1985, 95:229-35.

 

In Memory of Gabriella Morreale de Escobar

Gabriella Morreale de Escobar

I communicate with great sadness that Prof. Gabriella Morreale de Escobar passed away in Madrid on December 4, 2017, at the age of 87 years. Born in Milan, her family moved to Malaga after a few years in Vienna and Baltimore. She graduated and obtained the Doctor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Granada. Using an extremely laborious method for iodine measurement she showed a correlation between iodine content in water and urine and the incidence of goiter in the “Alpujarras” a mountainous region near Granada. This was the start of a brilliant and influential scientific career together with her husband Prof. Francisco Escobar del Rey, who died in December 2015. They spent a postdoctoral stay in Leiden, with Professor A. Querido, performing early studies on thyroid hormone metabolism and returned to Madrid in 1958 as a staff of the High Council for Scientific Research (CSIC). In 1974 they moved to the Medical School of the Autonomous University of Madrid where they were co-founders of the Instituto de Investigaciones Biomédicas.

Gabriella made unique contributions to thyroid pathophysiology. Among them, she developed the concept that individual tissues control the amounts of T3 needed by regulating the local T4 to T3 conversion. She demonstrated that there is a transfer of thyroid hormones from mother to fetus from early gestational stages, and called the attention to the importance of maternal T4 in fetal brain development. In Spain, she initiated the screening program for congenital hypothyroidism and was instrumental in the introduction of iodized salt.

She was very active and influential in Spanish and international scientific societies. She was one of the founders of the European Thyroid Association, in 1967, and President from 1978 to 1980. Among her many prizes and recognitions, she received the European Thyroid Association Prize in 1985 and the Serge Lissitzky Career Award in 2009. She was also an honorary member of the ETA. Several generations of scientists initiated their research in her laboratory. Gabriella was active many years after her official retirement and was a continuing source of inspiration.

Gabriella was not only an important and excellent leader in the field of thyroid research but also a very warm and wonderful person with an open and friendly character towards everybody. The thyroid community has expressed its condolences to an extraordinary scientist with a generous and exceptional personality. She will be missed at meetings in Europe and throughout the world; nevertheless she has left a privileged legacy to all of us who have learned with her and most important her spirit will always remain. We also share the sorrow with her son, Dr. Hector Escobar-Morreale and her two grandchildren Inés y Francisco and will remember her always for her extraordinary scientific career and her wonderful personality.

Pilar Santisteban

President of the ETA

January 2018

 

In Memory of Jean Robbins

It is with great sorrow that we have learned of the passing of Mrs. Jean Robbins in March 2017, widow of Professor Jack Robbins at home at Applewood in Amherst, Massachusetts. She was a lovely person, and a faithful companion of her beloved husband for many decades. Following the passing of Jack Robbins in 2008, she and her family sponsored an ETA Award in 2012, “The Jack Robbins Prize” for the best presentation (either oral or poster) in the field of thyroid hormone transport and is presented each year at the Annual Meeting.

Jean is survived by her daughter Alice Robbins, her son Mark Robbins and by her 4 grandchildren.

The ETA expresses sincere condolences to her family. She will be sadly missed by all who have known her.

Pilar Santisteban

President of the ETA

Jean Robbins

 

In Memory of Shigenobu Nagataki

The ETA is deeply saddened to hear that Prof. Shigenobu Nagataki, an honorary member of the ETA, passed away on 12th November, aged 84. He was a prominent researcher in the thyroid field contributing with excellent works to our knowledge of the physiopathology of thyroid gland. He participated regularly in our congress discussing and presenting data, a man who surely will be greatly missed everyone who knew him. Our condolences go to his family and our thoughts are with them.

Pilar Santisteban

President of the ETA

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Prof. Shigenobu Nagataki
Prof. Shigenobu Nagataki

 

In Memory of Peter Laurberg

The ETA is shocked and deeply saddened to report that on June 20, 2016 Dr. Peter Laurberg, aged only 71, died following a car accident in Tbilisi, Georgia as he was walking with his wife, Grete, who survives the accident. Dr. Peter Laurberg was a leader in the field of thyroidology and past-President of our association. Peter was well known and respected for his tremendous achievement in the thyroid field. He became a member in 1978 and has been dedicated to many activities within the ETA – he was also a member of the Local Organizing Committee at the upcoming Annual Meeting in Copenhagen. Peter was always a prominent actor in any ETA annual meeting and was appreciated by all of us not only for his scientific contribution but also for his personality and humanity. Our condolences and sense of solidarity goes first of all to his wife Grete and his son. Peter was a wonderful man and we will miss him dearly.

Furio Pacini

President of the ETA

Peter Laurberg, MD
Peter Laurberg, MD

 

16th December 2015 Francisco Escobar del Rey

24th November 2015 Jacqueline de Visscher

12th July 2015 Horst Schleusener

5th July 2015 John B. Stanbury

31st July 2014 E. Chester Ridgway

4th May 2014 Bror-Axel Lamberg

14th December 2013 Gerard N. Burrow

May 2013 Donald Munro

11th December 2013 Ekkehard Kallee

December 2013 Jim Stockigt

10th December 2012 Aldo Pinchera

18th April 2012 Leonard Kohn

March 2012 Ragnar Eckholm

4th May 2011 Demetrios Koutras